Runt

7 March 2019 in Writing

She was born the runt of the litter and so thought herself a dog, much to the chagrin of her wolf mother. She thought, also, that love was better than snow, better than long treks through the woods, better than scavenging for dinner. And so she set off alone, hunting it. Love, love, love. Each lover was a new collar, some comfortable, some too tight at first, some easy to slip out of if necessary. But she rarely slipped away, even in the early days when she could smell that it’d never work out. She was too proud. She’d found it: Love, love, love. From the collar, the leash extended. At first, she enjoyed showing off all the tricks: Heel,
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The Fox Upstairs

1 March 2019 in Writing

The man upstairs is a fox. The day I moved in, he stood at the corner of the parking lot, his dark eyes following boxes in and following empty-handed delivery men out. He stood there too long, and I thought maybe he’d lost his car, though there are fewer than twenty spots in the lot. I’d just finished counting–boxes, parking spots–when he stepped forward, extended his hand, folded at the waist, “Hello. I live upstairs.” His shirts are always tucked in. His hair is always neatly combed. As he walks, his eyes dart left and right, scanning the territory. He is a fox, I tell the tiny jade bear totem on the bookshelf. “What do you think of that?” The
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Her Enviable Braids

28 February 2019 in Writing

K died the summer before sixth grade. She’d been walking on the side of the road when a car clipped her. Months later, during the short dark days of basketball season, a grown-up would remark, “Pedestrians are supposed to walk opposite the direction of traffic. That way, you see ’em coming.” At the funeral, some of them were already reckoning with this, as if it were a true or false question: You are flirting with death if you choose to walk on the right hand side of the road. True or false. A driver is absolved of wrong-doing if all they can see is the back of your giggling shoulder. True or false. In these summers before they could drive,
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The Soul in Winter

23 February 2019 in Music, Writing

People ask when my next concert will be. “I’d love to hear you play.” Or, “I just love the piano.” Always said, it seems, with eyes rolling heavenward or a clasp of hand to the heart. These prostrations unnerve me. I bear up. “I’m hibernating,” I say. “No performances on the horizon.” I hear that hibernating bears emerge bony and skeletal from their dens. Weak and emaciated. I observe my fingers, which now sometimes have problems opening jars. I wriggle them and wonder how long they would last across the tundra. In my hibernation, I listen to music, sometimes, like last night, discovering a pianist from Iceland, Vikingur Olafsson, who recorded Philip Glass in 2017, and then J.S. Bach less
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Buddha

21 February 2019 in Writing

“Your emotional reactivity will get the best of you,” he counseled. This became a daily routine, the multi-vitamin of their relationship. On Monday: “Do you want to let your thoughts and emotions control you?” Then Tuesday: “Your suffering is yet another one of your imaginary narratives. If you can accept it as imaginary, then suffering shall cease.” By Friday: “Unless you want to suffer.” He said all these things with the same blank face he used to negotiate fees for his work, or to tell his mother he loved her at the end of a holiday visit. “You could try meditation and send your thoughts down a river.” He lobbied for passivity and corrected himself, “I mean, observe them flowing
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Office Christmas Party

4 January 2019 in Writing

I scan the crowded room for a piece of wood or foam noodle, anything to make a life raft and stay afloat amidst the din. I hear the Christmas music and appreciate it as if it is wallpaper, the farthest layer of sound in the small space, collaged over by pieces and fragments of voices and sound effects. Drinks line the bar, gorgeous jewels in glasses, before—clink, clank—they’re whisked away, smashed one to another, their saturated crystal mouths forced to kiss while the humans laugh. The smells of limes and lemons hover, observing everything like dust. Everyone talks at once, two over three, two over five, a trio in the west, the stars in the east. I hear bits of
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